over·​gen·​er·​al·​ize ˌō-vər-ˈje-nə-rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce overgeneralize (audio)
overgeneralized; overgeneralizing
: to generalize excessively: such as
intransitive : to make excessively vague or general statements about something or someone
Of course, I am guilty here of grossly overgeneralizing, of caricaturing.Peter Oliver
transitive + intransitive : to generalize to the point of inaccuracy : to extrapolate a general theory, rule, etc. from too few facts or particulars
overgeneralizes from the results of a limited study
Since the needs of a low vision person and of a blind person can be very different, it is important not to overgeneralize the nature of visual impairment.Roberto Manduchi and James Coughlan
intransitive : to apply a rule of language too broadly
At a certain stage of language growth, children characteristically overgeneralize: They say sleeped instead of slept, brang (on the analogy of sang) instead of brought, and so forth.Noam Chomsky
overgeneralization noun
plural overgeneralizations
… indulge in overgeneralization from fuzzy facts, or when facts are missing. Hy Ruchlis
… stereotypical overgeneralizations about the sexes … Nadine Taub and Elizabeth M. Schneider

Examples of overgeneralize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What Woody Woodpecker Can Teach Us About Football Don’t overgeneralize about 2.5 billion people. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 22 Oct. 2011

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overgeneralize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1851, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overgeneralize was in 1851

Dictionary Entries Near overgeneralize

Cite this Entry

“Overgeneralize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overgeneralize. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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